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Safc are falling apart - and it has been happening for 18 months

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Safc are falling apart - and it has been happening for 18 months Empty Safc are falling apart - and it has been happening for 18 months

Post  Steve30000 on 2019-12-27, 3:57 pm

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Phil Parkinson's job hangs by a thread after another depressing performance, but the club's problems start at the top


BY JAMES HUNTER
13:32, 27 DEC 2019UPDATED13:35, 27 DEC 2019

JAMES HUNTER'S DAMNING VERDICT AS SUNDERLAND DRAW WITH BOLTON

So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's having fun.

Yeah, right.


Not if you were at the Stadium of Light.

Anything but.


Sunderland's grim goalless draw against basement side Bolton Wanderers was about as welcome as a plate of cold Christmas leftovers.

A result which saw Sunderland slip to 15th - FIFTEENTH! - in League One, another record low, as the crisis on Wearside deepened.

It was a far cry from Boxing Day last year, when Sunderland set a League One attendance record as more than 46,000 fans roared the third-placed Black Cats to victory over Bradford City, narrowing the gap on leaders Portsmouth to five points - and still with two games in hand of Pompey.


Fast forward 12 months and a very generous official attendance of 33,000-odd were just as vocal, but this time they were calling for the sacking of manager Phil Parkinson , and calling for the installation of Kevin Phillips - in fact any club legend would do, with Kevin Ball, Gary Rowell, and Julio Arca, also on the fans' playlist - and rounding it off with a hearty chorus of boos at full-time.


Yes, Sunderland could have won. They had what appeared to be a perfectly good goal from Tom Flanagan disallowed, and forced Bolton keeper Remi Matthews into a couple of fine saves.

But Bolton had chances too, and Jon McLaughlin produced some good saves of his own.


Phil Parkinson indicates his job is not in any immediate jeopardy after talks with Stewart Donald

However we are long past the point where we can debate the ifs, buts, and maybes, of games in isolation.

Never mind that tree, look at the size of the forest.

There can be no hiding the fact that Parkinson's first ten weeks in charge have been disastrous.

Two wins from 14 games in all competitions tells its own story. Sunderland have not won a game since November 2, when they narrowly squeezed past next-to-bottom Southend United on home soil.


They have exited three cup competitions, but far more importantly their chances of automatic promotion are effectively over before the halfway point in the season, and their play-off hopes are dwindling week by week.


The question now is: how much more of this can Sunderland fans be expected to endure?

Their club is falling apart in front of their eyes.

It has been falling apart for 18 months but it is only this season that the problems have spilled over onto the pitch - so only now have people begun to sit up and take notice.

Where does the blame lie?

And what is to be done about it?

First things first, when the fans turn against a manager it is very difficult - in fact, nigh impossible - to turn the tide.

So, in the short-term, tossing fans a little red meat by sacking Parkinson might satisfy some, and offer a fresh start to a new man.

Will it end the sense of crisis on Wearside? Definitely not - changing a manager after ten weeks smacks of desperation.

Would a change guarantee an upturn in form? Well, it didn't work last time, did it.


The truth is the problems at Sunderland are far more deep-rooted than the manager.

Last year, Jack Ross reached a cup final and was able to keep a promotion challenge going until the final week of the season and that papered over the cracks.

It covered up the fact that it became apparent within weeks of taking over that new owners Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven had bitten off far more than they could chew, seemed way out of their depth, had no money to spend, and no plan.

There were lots of fine words, but they were winging it from Day One.
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